If you’ve wondered why your friends on social media have been freaking out over fresh episodes of It’s Okay to Not Be Okay every weekend, wonder no more. Check out our reasons why you should watch It’s Okay to Not Be Okay below — and the one reason that could excuse you from watching right now. Maybe.
Kim Soo Hyun’s long-awaited comeback
Yes, the highest-paid actor in Korea is back (and yes, he even overtook CLoY’s Hyun Bin to take the first spot). If you haven’t heard of him — which is pretty impossible given that he was everywhere before his military enlistment — this 32-year-old actor is best known for his lead roles in Dream High (2011), Moon Embracing the Sun (2012), and My Love From the Star (2013). Still not ringing a bell? Maybe you just got into K-dramas, but you may still recognize him from his cameo roles in Hotel del Luna (2019) and Crash Landing on You (2019–2020).
Ever since he was discharged, he’s been teasing fans with these cameo roles, and everyone just wants to see him back on the small screen. And with It’s Okay Not to Be Okay, he doesn’t disappoint. He knows how to pull us into his role as Moon Gang Tae, a health worker at a psychiatric ward with a mysterious past. And he’s got that “I can be strong for you, but I can’t take care of myself” vibe down to a tee.
Who is Seo Ye Ji. you ask?
While she may not be as well-known as Kim Soo Hyun, Seo Ye Ji has proven she can keep up with the male actor in her works in Save Me (2017) and Lawless Lawyer (2018). (Though please don’t try to watch the former alone if you can’t take thrillers.) Her acting credits may not be as extensive as her male lead’s, but once you see her onscreen, you’ll understand why she was paired with him.
Her character Ko Mun Yeong is a children’s book writer who has an antisocial personality disorder, and Seo Ye Ji perfectly embodies the character of the rich girl with a dark past who can’t feel empathy for others. She maintains that poker face perfectly throughout the episodes which perfectly encaptures that IDGAF attitude brought about by her disorder. Her character is refreshingly unapologetically blunt, but her extreme way of thinking often brings her and those around her so much trouble. And yet behind all that bravado lies a vulnerability that Seo Ye Ji easily shows with just her eyes.
A+ fashion choices
Another thing we love to love about Seo Ye Ji’s character is the impeccably styled outfits she wears on a daily basis. We know she gets a lot of money from her royalties as a best-selling children’s author — even if she’s currently facing some hiccups on that account — and it reflects on her wardrobe choices ranging from Victorian era-style mini ball gowns to flowy and comfy dresses. Her clothing choices make viewers feel like they’re in a fairytale, TBH. But the verdict’s still out if she’s the damsel in distress or the witch causing the distress.
The chemistry is off the charts
One of the biggest draws of Korean dramas for us viewers is the undeniable chemistry of the main couple. The same goes for the leads of It’s Okay to Not Be Okay, and it’s so obvious right from the get-go. They might have been wielding a literal knife during the first episode, but that one scene — or a handful, actually — where they just stare into each other’s eyes like they’re conveying a thousand things without the use of their voices? We kind of felt like we were intruding on an intimate moment. Had to remind ourselves that yes, this is a show, it’s only a K-drama, because wow.
The ever-evolving relationship dynamic between the two leads is so fascinating. Mun Yeong suffers from a personality disorder, and Gang Tae has played the role of a caretaker all his life while fighting his own demons. Mun Yeong becomes obsessed, and Gang Tae recognizes how dangerous it is, but it seems he couldn’t help but be pulled back into Mun Yeong’s orbit, especially with their shared past. Mun Yeong often becomes reckless and loses control, while Gang Tae keeps his control on a tight lid, and whenever they come together, it’s like they help balance each other. It’s a gripping dynamic that doesn’t let us viewers off the hook.
And so much mystery
It’s not just the actors that pull you into this show. Even if you knew nothing about them, the intriguing plot would have you hooked. The show starts off with an animated depiction of a children’s fairytale, with a princess on a balcony, but it doesn’t really have a happy ending — not even an okay one — and then it turns into Seo Ye Ji’s character Ko Mun Yeong on the same balcony. And now you’re questioning what the heck just happened, so you’ll stick around to see why is she that princess with the sad ending and will she ever get a happily ever after in real life? Enter Kim Soo Hyun’s Moon Gang Tae . . .
That’s just the first five minutes of the show. We’re a few episodes in, and while we’re getting some answers, we’re also just asking more questions. The stories of the characters, particularly the leads, are told in a fascinating dark fairytale style, much like the animation in the beginning. Visually appealing, while also evoking some strong emotions within the viewers.
More than meets the eye
Beyond the romance and the plot, what is probably the most important thing about It’s Okay to Not Be Okay is how it attempts to foster a better understanding of mental health. There aren’t a lot of K-dramas that attempt to depict mental illnesses and disorders like autism, antisocial personality disorder, and dementia, so It’s Okay to Not Be Okay is a breath of fresh air.
It’s Okay to Not Be Okay gives a clear picture of what’s it like to suffer from these disorders. A perfect example is when Ko Mun Yeong falls asleep at the end of episode 2 and seemingly gets attacked by a ghost in her cursed castle. But most viewers agree that what Mun Yeong was experiencing then was sleep paralysis — and a very good depiction of sleep paralysis, at that. She was powerless and helpless, unable to move and run away from the ghosts in her mind, until she was able to wake up and calmed herself down the way Gang Tae taught her.
Another great example is Sang Tae, our male lead’s brother, who is diagnosed with autism. The last time we saw a character with autism in K-dramaland was perhaps 2013’s Good Doctor, so seeing Sang Tae being happy about simple things while also caring for his brother in his own way is so refreshing to see. It’s great to see how this drama shows that Sang Tae and others like him are often just misunderstood — they just process the world differently.
Bonus: mini reunions!
So many familiar faces are gracing our screens, and it’s nice seeing some of them reuniting for another project. There’s Kim Soo Hyun and Kim Chang Wan, from best friends slash occasional father-son in My Love From Another Star to eccentric hospital director and no-nonsense employee here. Kim Chang Wan also worked with Seo Ye Ji in Hwarang, though both were supporting characters. And of course, an unexpected reunion is Romance is a Bonus Book’s cute publishing couple Kang Ki Doong and Park Gyu Young, who now play Gang Tae’s best friend and secondary love interest respectively. We wonder who else we’d see onscreen — the reunions just make the show all the more exciting to see.
Not watching yet?
If you’re not watching yet, WHY?! You’re missing out on so much. The only excuse we’ll accept is that you’re waiting until all episodes are out to binge-watch because you’re worried about all the cliffhangers that would make a week-long wait agonizing. But still, you’ll miss out on all the post-episode discussions and theory-making sessions and just the overall experience of watching the story as it unfolds.
So what are you waiting for? Get to it!
What do you think of this K-drama? Tell us below!